Resuming face-to-face or in-person classes may hike deaths from the coronavirus disease 2019 by 8 percent, according to a report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“The average age at which these deaths occur is 63, and this figure represents 0.3 percent of 2019 mortality in the Philippines. Closing face-to-face schooling only for those over 15 averts 60 percent of those deaths, and reduces mortality to about 600 lives, while allowing 78 percent of learners to attend face-to-face classes,” the ADB report said.
The ADB also pointed out that fully resuming in-person classes in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Calabarzon would present the most risk.
However, the ADB also said that “protracted school closure,” referring to the blended learning system implemented by the Department of Education, “does not appear to be especially effective in controlling Covid-19,” furthering citing that “the pandemic risk to children is limited, as a very small share of diagnosed Covid-19 cases globally and in the Philippines is among those under 20 years of age, and severe medical outcomes, including mortality, are rare among children and adolescents.”
This means that while children have low susceptibility rates, their getting Covid-19 can infect the more vulnerable members of the population like the seniors or those with diseases that can worsen the symptoms of the disease.
While the ADB seemed to be discouraging face-to-face classes, it said not holding face-to-face classes would cost P1.9 trillion in foregone economic opportunities, which has prompted the government to gradually implement face-to-face classes starting next year.The Department of Education is already setting the groundwork for the resumption of face-to-face classes in so-called “low-risk” areas for Covid-19. SOVEREIGNHPH